April 2014

It's Planting Time

You know the account: "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." (Genesis 1:1) God created all of it. From nothing, God created everything from light to animals, from sky to fish, and topped it off by creating man in His own image. Man's job? Tend the garden. Simple enough, work it and keep it. Tend to what God had created and enjoy the fruits of that labor: "You may surely eat of every tree of the garden," except for the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But Adam and Eve took it upon themselves to disobey God and thus the fall of man brought havoc into the God given order of things.

So on a beautiful spring day, when we endeavor to "work and keep" this garden of ours by physically planting and toiling in the dirt, we realize that we have no ability to cause growth or make fruit. If it were left to us alone, we would never enjoy a single bit of "fruit."

As Christians, we often lose sight of the order of things. We think it incumbent upon us to make things happen. If only I, when I, if I ... and the list goes on and on. At home, at work, in our families, and among friends, we endeavor to make spiritual fruit grow on our own, as if we had any control over that in the first place. When we seek to plant the seeds of Christ's righteousness in sharing His love and Gospel message of salvation, we turn it into something that it is not. We try to prove our worth as Christians, relying on our own persuasiveness, intelligence, or charm to convert people and force the seeds to grow.

Remember the words of St. Paul, "For when one says, "I follow Paul," and another, "I follow Apollos," are you not being merely human? What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:4-9)

God gives the growth. By the power of His Spirit through His Word, we are gifted with the joy of sowing His seeds and tending His harvest fields. But He alone provides the harvest. Let us trust in Him to use us as He has called us: to plant the seed.

Contributed by Rev. Todd Kollbaum, director, LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission, and Amy Gerdts, project coordinator, LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission. LCMS Rural & Small Town Mission supports and encourages rural and small town congregations in engaging their communities and growing together in Christ through Word and Sacrament. Learn more about us at www.lcms.org/rstm or by calling our office at 888-463-5127, by email at rstm@lcms.org or by visiting with us on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lcmsrstm.

Next Webinar: Reaching Out to Military Families

April 26, 2014: 10 a.m. Central Time
Speaker: Mike Moreno

Join us on Saturday, April 26 at 10 a.m. CST for Reaching Out to Military Families. This one-hour, interactive webinar with Operation Barnabas manager, Navy Chaplain Mike Moreno, will empower you and your congregation to show the love of Christ to a population that is in need of stability and healing. Repeated deployments have taken their toll on both military members and their families. Many in the Armed Forces will be returning home as the military downsizes. Is your congregation ready to receive them? Learn from Chaplain Moreno as he shares his ministry outreach initiative and equips churches to reach military members with the love of Christ.

To participate in this webinar, simply go to http://connectpro31217790.adobeconnect.com/reachingouttomilitaryfamilies/, create a user name, and click "enter as guest."

Put These Webinars on Your Calendar

April 26
Reaching Out to Military Families
Speaker: Mike Moreno

May 17
Going Beyond the 3 R's in Lutheran Schools
Speaker: Laura Montgomery

June 7
Serving as Christ in Your Community
Speaker: Greg Arnett

July 19
The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood
Speakers: Patrisha Herzog and Pastor Jeff Cloeter

August 9
Responding and Witnessing Effectively to Jehovah's Witnesses
Speaker: Kay Meyer


4/26/2014: MU-201
Concordia Lutheran Church

4/26/2014: MU-101
Our Savior's Lutheran Church

4/26/2014: MU-101
Peace Lutheran Church

5/3/2014: MU-301
Our Savior Lutheran Church

5/3/2014: MU-102
All Saints Lutheran Church

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